Top PPP leader Sherry Rehman objects to govt aid to JuD

Former Federal Minister Sherry Rehman on Friday objected to the financial aid provided to JuD and its allied institutions by Pakistani authorities, saying the group has "known leadership and cadre links" to the LeT.

Islamabad: Former Federal Minister Sherry
Rehman on Friday objected to the financial aid provided to
Jamaat-ud-Dawah and its allied institutions by Pakistani
authorities, saying the group has "known leadership and cadre
links" to the LeT, which is blamed for the Mumbai carnage.

"Giving an outright grant to the JuD...tells us that
some elements in the Punjab government are still not committed
fully to the idea that jihadist outfits like the
Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), with known leadership and cadre links
to the JuD, must be rooted out and that their activities shut
down," said Rehman, a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan
People’s Party.
The UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for
the banned Lashker-e-Taiba shortly after the 26/11 Mumbai

Official documents of the Punjab government showed
that over Rs 82 million was provided to the JuD and its allied
organisations in the budget for 2009-10.

A majority of the funds went to the JuD?s headquarters
at Muridke near Lahore while the rest was provided to schools
run by the group.

The former Information Minister asked why no one had
questioned the aid provided to the JuD by the Punjab
government at a time when all political forces have committed
themselves to "reversing the tide of extremism and terrorism
sweeping Pakistan".

She referred to Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah?s
comments that a provision was made in the provincial budget
for the JuD’s welfare activities and demanded that grants to
such groups should be "stopped forthwith".

The welfare activities of the JuD can be taken over by
the Punjab government or handed over to non-extremist
organisations who can supplement state capacity, she said.

"The country can no longer afford this mollycoddling
of terrorists, and Punjab is fast becoming a victim of its own

"There can be no military operation against
terrorists in Punjab, but there must and should be a police
sweep, with enough evidence to obtain convictions through our
courts," Rehman said in a statement.

She said the Punjab government had doled out money
from the taxpayers` pockets instead of using the funds to
build "police capacity to throw...a dragnet around terrorists
who openly hold rallies in the streets of Lahore and
She added: "If this is not pampering a banned outfit,
what is?"

The Punjab government had said it had appointed an
administrator to run the JuD?s schools and dispensaries two
years ago and this infrastructure should have been taken over
by the state by now "instead of allowing a banned organisation
to earn support on JuD and LeT branding".

"And if it`s only an administrator that is using the
funds, why has Rs 79 million of this grant gone directly to
the Markaz-e-Tayyaba in Muridke which is the JuD
headquarters?" she asked.

Rehman said the federal government should take note
of the "space being granted to banned outfits through such
disbursements and rallies".

She added: "If we continue on this path, the carnage
we saw in various attacks on mosques, non-combatants and
minorities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab will only gain

Militants who cannot escape ongoing military
operations by crossing into Afghanistan will "come down to the
Punjab and Karachi", she cautioned.

"You cannot run a military operation in six tribal
agencies and then have extremist ideologies run rampant in
other areas," the former minister said.

The PPP leader said the Punjab outfits may not have
challenged the writ of the state as yet, "but in reality they
have devolved down to many splinters, with ties to al-Qaeda,
and they are gaining critical mass".

"Instead of reversing their momentum, a part of the
government is patronising them. This is both short-sighted and
dangerous, and can have serious consequences for Pakistan,"
argued Rehman.

She advised the Punjab government to take back the
grant provided to JuD and to "firm up its resolve to combat
terrorism by reducing space for banned outfits, and by
building governance capacity to administer its own social
services or find non-violent partners who can deliver at the


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